Heroes and Zeros: The Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict
For 85 minutes on Friday, we held our breath as America’s-not-Sweetheart Kamala Harris was acting president while Joe Biden was anesthetized for a colonoscopy. Near in time, a 12-member panel of jurors in Kenosha, Wisconsin ignored threats shouted on the courtroom steps to find Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of all the charges against him.
The judge and defense counsel bravely labored on, ignoring the many death threats against them. Kyle was brave to defend himself during the riot and at the trial where the prosecution engaged in numerous unethical acts, not the least of which was charging him with crimes for which they lacked any reasonable scintilla of evidence. Videos, most taken by amateurs at the scene of the rioting, revealed that he had defended himself against three thugs with long criminal records who had physically threatened him, like hyenas charging the smallest gazelle in the herd. The conclusion was solidly based on the facts and law in a distressing world where mobs think they, not reason, fact, or law, should rule the day. They have been given leeway by Democrat party leaders to think that way.
In the strikingly pusillanimous ranks were the governor of Wisconsin and the usual Democrat party pols, including the president and vice-president.
Here’s the mealy-mouthed response to the verdict from Wisconsin governor Tony Evers, who had refused then-president Trump’s offer to send in the National Guard to keep rioters from burning down Kenosha, the scene of the attacks on Kyle and his defensive shootings. This was a protest against the justifiable police shooting of an armed man who had an outstanding warrant for sexual abuse, had stolen the keys to his former girlfriend’s car, and was attempting to ride off with it with her child still inside it. Evers was as responsible as the rioters for the violence that destroyed so much of that city and the homes and small businesses which were uninsured or underinsured:
“No verdict will be able to bring back the lives of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, or heal Gaige Grosskreutz’s injuries, just as no verdict can heal the wounds or trauma experienced by Jacob Blake and his family. No ruling today changes our reality in Wisconsin that we have work to do toward equity, accountability, and justice that communities across our state are demanding and deserve.
“Kenoshans are strong, resilient, and have spent the last year working every day together toward healing. This case and the resulting national spotlight on the Kenosha community and our state have undoubtedly reopened wounds that have not yet fully healed. I echo the calls of local Kenosha community leaders and join them in asking everyone who might choose to assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights in any community to please only do so safely and peacefully. We must have peace in Kenosha and our communities, and any efforts or actions aimed at sowing division are unwelcome in our state as they will only hinder that healing.
“I’ve seen the pain and the frustration of so many, and we must remain steadfast in our commitment to ending violence in our communities, supporting victims and survivors as they heal from trauma, and rooting out the disparities that are so often inextricably linked to that violence and trauma. We must be unwavering in our promise to build a state where every kid, person, and family can live their life free of violence and have every chance to be successful.
“We must move forward, together, more united and more motivated to build the sort of future we want for our state -- one that is just, one that is equitable, and one where every person has the resources and opportunity to thrive -- and I will not stop working to achieve that vision.”
If you want to end violence, act to prevent it instead of doing what you did do -- encourage it by applauding it, contributing to organizations that foment it, and removing law enforcement -- as you and the mayor of Kenosha did -- when riots take place. And stop treating thugs like Blake and Rosenbaum, Huber and Grosskreutz, as victims. If they are victims at all they are victims of your indulgence of their transgressive, illegal behavior. Indeed, the best thing the citizens of Kenosha can do to stop violence is to elect a better mayor, and the best thing the citizens of Wisconsin can do to that same end is vote Evers out of office. Those two may choose to live in a postlegal, post-rational world where ill-educated, propagandized mobs rule, but the rest of us do not.
For a brief moment, it even seemed like President Biden got the message. In an impromptu remark on the White House lawn, he praised the jury, stating he stood by their decision and that the system worked.
Vice President Kamala Harris commented on the verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse's homicide trial, suggesting it showed the criminal justice system is not equitable, apparently contradicting President Joe Biden's remarks.
In a tweet Friday evening, the vice president and former prosecutor said: "Today's verdict speaks for itself. I've spent a majority of my career working to make our criminal justice system more equitable. It's clear, there's still a lot more work to do."
While Harris' comments seemed to condemn the outcome of the trial, Biden had stood by the jury's decision earlier Friday.
Back inside the White House, however, Biden’s handlers prevailed upon him to erase within the hour the first rational remark he made in as long as I can recall.
This is a man who, before there was even a trial or he was president, claimed on no evidence whatsoever that Kyle was a “white supremacist,” fanning the flames of rioters and defaming an innocent kid who was in Kenosha not to riot but instead erase graffiti, offer emergency aid, put out fires, and defend his friends and neighbors against vicious thugs.
In the zeros category, a special place belongs to the prosecution for bringing this evidence-free case and for engaging in substantial unethical behavior throughout the trial. Victoria Taft writes:
Americans, already disgusted by the FBI, manufactured Trump Russia scandals, and counterintelligence investigations into concerned parents like they’re members of Al Qaeda, closely watched this case and were repulsed by the chicanery used to prosecute Rittenhouse.
They’re supposed to be the justice guys, right?
It’s a wonder that Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts.
You can blame Leftist propagandists or your laziness if you believed that Rittenhouse’s assailants were black, or that his gun was illegal, or that he brought it “across state lines,” or that he was a “chaos tourist” and a “vigilante.”
But there’s a special Mike Nifong-sized ring of hell for prosecutors who introduce these slanders into a courtroom, knowing that their subterfuge might put a kid away for the rest of his life.
Thomas Binger and Jim Kraus did this in many ways, by invoking lies -- that they knew were lies -- into pre-trial bail hearings, motions, and then ultimately into the courtroom itself in the trial. All of these lies were dutifully transcribed by friendly journalists. Indeed, as I reported at PJ Media, prosecutors never went back to revise or revisit the plethora of charges brought against Rittenhouse to test against the truth. If the mob believed ’em, they stayed in the charging documents.
Another zero goes to those who refuse to accept the justifiable verdict as Tucker Carlson reports.
Andrew Branca, a criminal defense lawyer who did such a wonderful job blogging the trial on Legal Insurrection, proposes Kyle’s Law, explaining that in cases like this one and the Trayvon Martin case, prosecutors for personal gain have brought criminal charges which are not evidenced nor winnable and should suffer the consequences for the prosecution’s inability to disprove self-defense by a majority of the evidence.
The penalty for such a jury finding he proposes is this:
If the jury agrees the prosecution failed to meet even this very low threshold, the defendant is immediately entitled to compensation for any losses resulting from this unfounded prosecution.
And that compensation shall be made both by the state generally and by the prosecutor personally.
First, the state generally: A self-defense defendant who qualifies under Kyle's Law would be entitled to monetary compensation from the state for legal expenses, lost wages, and all other economic costs associated with the unjust prosecution. (Washington state already has a statute that does precisely this, §9A.16.110, but it is the only state that does. This needs to expand to every state.)
Second, the prosecutor personally: A self-defense defendant who qualifies under Kyle's Law would be entitled to monetary compensation from the prosecutor personally for mental distress, emotional pain & suffering, lost economic/ business/educational opportunities, reputational damage, and so forth, plus any legal costs incurred to secure this compensation -- and that means the suffering of both the defendant himself AND his immediate family. (No state currently has such a provision of law.)
Further, if the State seeks to reimburse the prosecutor for this damage award, that reimbursement also becomes the property of the self-defense defendant.
Only by holding the state generally and the prosecutor personally both responsible for such cases of unjust persecution of self-defense cases can we keep these victims of violent attack from also becoming victims of an assaultive justice system.
Once again, while pretending to seek unity, the Left would divide us by race (even where race is not involved whatsoever, as it was not here), and it’s becoming so patent and ridiculous and so pervasive that Babylon Bee, the satire site, is on the mark when it laughingly announces the Muppets will now wear labels on their foreheads identifying their race.
We’re not buying what they’re selling.
Image: Michael Ramirez
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